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Century One, by Richard S. Conde Book Review | SFReader.com
Century One, by Richard S. Conde Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: iUniverse Published: 2001 Review Posted: 10/6/2004 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 8 out of 10
Century One, by Richard S. Conde
Book Review by Heather Hunt
Have you read this book?
Richard S. Conde's Century One is part science fiction, part religious reflection. Unfortunately, the whole does not equal more than the sum of the parts.
First, the good news: The science fiction part is imaginative and fascinating. Conde's take on Earth's space presence in the not-too-distant future is encouraging. His mechanism for time travel in a recurring geographical dimension of space is ingenious and makes for a thrilling and harrowing ride back through the centuries.
His physical description of the protagonists' aging process as they travel through time reminds readers of the price for playing with time. The device of stepping off the time highway to stop in on Earth and check what time period they're in is a fun way to relive history and prove or disprove famous disputed cases.
When they reach Century One, the story segues from science fiction to historical fiction. Scifi elements, such as the anachronistic gear that the protagonists wear and use, is folded into the narrative as our heroes walk through the first century A.D. and encounter historical figures, such as Mary and Judas, and fictional characters, such as Belly Ben and Black Dossie.
While the historical trip is enjoyable, the religious themes begin to take over in a heavy-handed way that makes the author's message too transparent. One plot point involving long lost ancient documents is reminiscent of "The DaVinci Code," and like that novel, the religious message is much more syncretistic or New Age than Christian.
The book is also on shaky grounds grammatically. Punctuation throughout is consistently used incorrectly, from apostrophes to commas to quotation marks-or lack thereof.
Conde also uses the passive voice too often, especially in the early portion of the book in which he sets up the discovery of the time travel mechanism. He literally has characters tell their stories, and at one point, even has one character telling another character's story with far too many details than a secondary source would ever have.
Century One has potential as an intriguing time travel story. If Mr. Conde wants the story to meet its potential, however, he needs to get it professionally edited for grammar and punctuation. And he also may want to rework the presentation of his theme.
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